Kandovan, Iran

Kandovan is a remarkable, rock-hewn town within a couple of hours drive of Tabriz, in the northwest of Iran. I visited in November 2005, and was immediately captivated by the juxtaposition of an otherwise modern lifestyle taking place in these ancient dwellings.

Kandovan, Iran

Arriving in Kandovan, Iran

I organised my trip through the Tabriz tourism office. The taxi picked me, along with two other tourists, up from the tourist office, and then scooted at high speed through the cold paddocks of the plateau towards snow-dusted ranges.

Road to Kandovan

Road to Kandovan

You don’t see it until you’re almost upon it; you round a mountain and it’s there, seemingly clinging to the hillside, each house with its craggy peak pointing skywards.


We were given about two hours to wind our way through the village at our own pace, from the western to the eastern end. We climbed up into the thick of it, then zigzagged our way up and down the hill diagonally, each stairway holding a different surprise; goats being herded at near-45 degree angles, men occupying tiny shops cut out of the stone walls, and women sweeping their house porches while the children watched satellite TV inside.


Kandovan, Iran

Many people make the obvious comparison between the traditional village of Kandovan and the more-famous “fairy chimneys” of Cappadocia in Turkey. While the parallels are plain to see, each is separate enough to be an attraction without comparison; certainly, the lack of mass tourism in Kandovan is one of its greatest assets, and will be for some time to come.

Kandovan, Iran

Have you been to Kandovan? What about Cappadocia? What was your experience like?

Comments (4)

  • Anna @ shenANNAgans Reply

    I have not been to Kandovan or Cappadocia, but I want too. Your photos are amazing my friend. How magic to live in a house in a hill. 🙂 Is AirBnB there? I wanna visit.

    February 6, 2016 at 9:20 am
    • Tim Blight Reply

      Good question!! I wonder if AirBnB is there… it wouldn’t be out of the question, surely? Thanks for visiting, Anna 🙂

      February 6, 2016 at 9:24 am
  • Andrew Boland Reply

    Loved Kandovan. It’s so peaceful, quiet and nice and cool. Friendly folk there too!

    February 8, 2016 at 1:07 pm
    • Tim Blight Reply

      Me too – isn’t it enchanting?

      February 9, 2016 at 8:49 pm

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